The principle of utility and mill's minimizing utilitarianism

Journal of Value Inquiry 20 (2):125-136 (1986)
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Formulations of Mill's principle of utility are examined, and it is shown that Mill did not recognize a moral obligation to maximize the good, as is often assumed. His was neither a maximizing act nor rule utilitarianism. It was a distinctive minimizing utilitarianism which morally obligates us only to abstain from inflicting harm, to prevent harm, to provide for others minimal essentials of well being (to which rights correspond), and to be occasionally charitable or benevolent

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Rem B. Edwards
University of Tennessee, Knoxville


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